At Roper Mountain Science Center, Greenville County’s students get hands-on experience with all things STEM, but families can get in on the action, too.

“During the school year, our primary focus is school classes,” Michael Weeks, the center’s director, said.

The center, which is a Greenville County Schools property, is a destination for 50,000 – 60,000 students in the Upstate each year, as well as visitors from schools in other parts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

The site features hands-on science, including a rainforest room, animals, a marine lab, weather, STEM and more.

During the school year and during daylight hours, families can walk the nature trails and visit the gardens at no charge. The Bon Secours BeWell trail was recently added, giving visitors an outdoor fitness opportunity. And Weeks said the Wildwood play area is popular spot for play dates.

“It’s an outdoor, natural play area,” he said. “We’ve seen moms meet up there.”

Visitors might notice the addition of a dinosaur along the trail, the first of a group to be added by the summer of 2018.

“We are looking at adding 16 more along the trail next year,” Weeks said. “We’ve made a big effort to add more opportunities for people to engage outside of school groups.”

Seasonally, the center offers a butterfly exhibit in the summer and – ending in 2017 – its Roper Mountain Holiday Lights.

In addition to its ever-popular summer camps, RMSC comes alive to visitors on Friday nights and select Saturdays.

Second Saturday programs are held 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on six Saturdays each year. In the past, the events had shorter hours and were held monthly.

“We’ve tried to make them bigger and better,” Weeks said.

Families can now look forward to such varied Second Saturday events as Space Day in March, featuring experts from NASA’s Langley Research Center – and typically including an astronaut – and the Fall Harvest Festival, featuring living history demonstrations.

Fridays mean all eyes look up at RMSC. Starry Nights are held in the newly renovated planetarium.

The shows have proven to be so popular that a third show was recently added. The planetarium is all new, from the carpet to the roof, and it includes a 4K project system.

“Greenville can be proud,” Weeks said. “We have a state-of-the-art planetarium here now.”

Weather permitting, Friday night visitors can also enjoy the observatory and the eighth largest refractor telescope in North America.

RMSC is going all out for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. Starry Nights includes “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed,” which features information about the history and science of eclipses and information about how to safely view the upcoming event. RMSC’s Eclipse Extravaganza, Aug. 19 – 21, includes hands-on activities, NASA Solar System Ambassadors and Educators and more.

“Everybody in the continental United States is going to get a partial eclipse,” Weeks said. “For those of us lucky enough to be in the totality, it’s going to be awesome.”

Learn more about Roper Mountain Science Center’s programs, including indoor exhibits and outdoor gardens and trails, at

You can go

Roper Mountain Science Center is located at 402 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville. Public hours vary by day and season. Visit or call 864-355-8900.

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